Something cool mom (my sport of a travel companion) observed was that there are no shops selling cut loose flowers in Srinagar. I think that says a lot. It's not as if they don't appreciate them because they certainly have tons in their numerous gardens that not even kids pluck. I think Kashmiri Muslims don't like to cut flowers Because they like them. They would rather let them grow and whither on their own. Now that's some love!
What a contrast to almost all other Indian cities where any temple requires buckets of flowers everyday or cities in the West where they are in vases of homes instead.
Dal Lake is home to many local people, who built their houses on islands on the lake itself. As part of their daily life, these people actually have floating farms on the lake itself, where they grow vegetables. These floating farms are mobile and can be moved along the lake from place to place (interesting indeed). During summer, the Dal Lake is also filled with many floating lotus plants and flowers.
Srinagar is a rather old city, and many of the old houses and architecture (mainly brownish in colour) can still be seen in the old town area of the city, including the areas surrounding the Jama Masjid (biggest mosque in the city). I was told by my guide that one of the key features of the buildings are the beautifully designed traditional windows of the houses.
The traditional houseboats at Srinagar are world famous and each of them are hand-made at Srinagar. When you are staying at the houseboat, do take time to admire the detailed wooden carvings, shapes, patterns etc. It is indeed an unique experience staying in the houseboat, this is something to be remembered forever :)
If you want to try the traditional costumes of Kashmir and have your photos taken, there are several stores at the Mughal Garden Nishat for you to do so. It is very easy to put on the customs (they will help you) and you can take some photos with the gardens and surrounding mountains.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is the northern-most state of India and it predominantly consists of Muslims. As such, you will see a lot of Muslim architecture, mosques etc and most of the people on the streets will be men.
The life in this region is generally tough because of the on-going border desputes between India and Paskistan as well as the rugged landscape. Despite the above, the people here are generally friendly and live a rather laid-back lifestyle. Because of the weather, this area is suitable for growing fruits like apples, peaches, grapes etc.
I take this opportunity to thank Mr Majid (my tour guide) and Mr Hassan (our caretaker during the stay at the houseboat - see photo).